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Virtual Commonwealth Leaders Meet in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Friday, 26th June 2020
Hon Okello Oryem together with Senior Ministry Officials including the Permanent Secretary, Amb Patrick Mugoya
The Virtual Commonwealth Leaders Meeting in response to Covid-19 Pandemic was held on 24 June 2020. The meeting was held under the banner of "Sharing solutions in challenging times". It was convened by the Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, and chaired by the President of Seychelles H.E. Danny Faure. Over 35 countries participated in the meeting, including 9 heads of Government, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and High Commissioners.

Uganda was represented by Hon. Okello Henry Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of International Affairs who delivered a statement on behalf of H.E. President Yoweri Museveni. The Minister conveyed Uganda's warm greetings to, and solidarity with the Commonwealth family, and thanked the Secretary General for convening the meeting on the global emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to share solutions in challenging times.

Participants noted that what started as a global health pandemic has turned into a worldwide economic disaster that has led to loss of lives, jobs, and livelihoods as well as over-stretching national health systems and depleting national resources. The pandemic has also led to unintended consequences with far reaching effects - including closure of national borders, disruption of trade and markets, interruption of food supplies and a massive consular demand for evacuation of stranded nationals, among others.

As a Commonwealth family, participants shared experiences and drew lessons on how different countries are copying with the pandemic. They also recommended options, strategies and best practices on managing the current and future global pandemics. They agreed to revamp their national health systems, adopt technologies and practices to cope with Covid-19, and digitize national economies to facilitate online learning, e-commerce and industrialization. 

Participants also underscored the need to enhance economic cooperation, trade and investments, build resilient economies and climate vitality as well as galvanize global solidarity to promote a peaceful, equitable and just global environment. They also stressed the need to enhance multilateralism through greater collaboration and promotion of public-private partnership as well as domestic and international resource mobilization in handling such national and global challenges.

The Virtual Commonwealth Leaders Meeting, the first of its kind, was dictated by air travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19. Members expressed hope that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was slated to convene in Kigali in June 2020, will still take place when the situation normalizes. 
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